Hiking the High Tibetan Monasteries of Ladakh

Hiking the High Tibetan Monasteries of Ladakh

9 Days



Hiking the High Tibetan Monasteries of Ladakh

9 Days Starting and ending in Leh

Visiting: India

Tour operator:

YellowWood Adventures

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:

Medium, 6: Intermediate

Age range:


Special diets catered:

Please advise requests

Tour operated in:

White water rafting

$2279 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$120
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Tour Overview

On this Ladakh hiking tour, you will experience breathtaking mountain scenery, discover the history of ancient kingdoms and visit the bustling market in Leh.

The Ladakh region, known as “Little Tibet” or “ Land beyond the Passes” is one of the most remote areas of India, lying to the north of the Himalayas on the Tibetan Plateau. On this trekking adventure, we will visit many of the incredible Tibetan monasteries, palaces and local people’s homes in the region.

Ladakh is far removed from the disputed and troubled region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan, and is a fantastic opportunity to experience the area; join us on this breathtaking hiking tour and experience this peaceful way of life beneath the snow-capped mountains.

Beginning the tour in Leh, we visit several centuries-old functioning monasteries and the monks, beginning our trek from Ridzong. It is a short and easy route that seldom goes over 4000m. We will pass through many medieval villages on the way experiencing their temples, libraries and the unchanged lifestyle of the locals in their fields and homes.

This high mountain region has remained isolated for centuries to the outside world due to its inaccessibility. From high altitude lakes surrounded by snow capped mountains we head down into remote valleys dotted with lush meadows and spectacular ochre coloured rocky landscape that changes its mood along with the light. You can even go white water rafting. This is truly the road less travelled.


  • Visit Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries

  • Discover the history of ancient kingdoms

  • Hike through stupendous mountain scenery

  • Experience the bustling market in Leh


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Day 1: Fly To Leh
Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Leh is 3500m above sea level so the body needs time to acclimatise to the lower pressure and relative lack of oxygen (for further information please reference the Essential Information on our Ladakh pages). Gentle exercise and plentiful hydration is the best way to spend the first day. Flights arrive mid to late morning, so after lunch we’ll spend the afternoon resting, meandering through the small streets of the town, exploring shops filled with prayer flags and Buddhist trinkets, drinking mint tea or hot lemon and honey, and trying the local momos. We will enjoy our first dinner as a group at the hotel this evening.Recommended flights: we recommend flying via Delhi the day before, and spending a night in Delhi. We are happy to help you with this: booking you a suitable hotel for your stopover in Delhi, arranging the transfers to and from the airport. Please contact us about this by email or add it as an add-on to your trip (see below). Overnight: Omasila Hotel

Day 2: Local Monasteries In The Valley
Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Some of the most colourful and interesting monasteries in the world are situated close to Leh, so while we are still acclimatising, we spend day 2 visiting three of them. We take a quiet country road to the Sashi Zampa – a bridge over the Indus River – and take a short walk to visit Shay Monastery. Following this we go just a few miles down the valley to Thiksey Monastery. Modelled on the Potala Palace in Tibet, Thiksey is a large collection of buildings which cascade down the hillside, and house a large collection of well preserved murals and paintings. The magnificent Maitreya Buddha is housed in one of the temples and is three storeys high. If we have time we will also fit in a visit to Shey Palace and climb up to the huge Buddha & stupa. On our return to Leh we have a further chance to rest and acclimatise or enjoy the hustle and bustle of the town. Some may have the energy to explore the market.Overnight: Omasila Hotel

Day 3: Hiking Around Leh
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today we get to stretch our legs properly - testing how they feel at altitude. After breakfast we walk up through the village and ascend the many steps (565!) to Shanti Stupa – the startlingly bright white monument overlooking the town. As well as being extremely beautiful and photogenic, it offers panoramic views across the Leh, valley and across to the Stok mountain range dominated by the peak of Stok Kangri. We walk through the old villages that have been swallowed up by Leh - it feels rural, ancient and very quiet. From here we can continue to Tsemo Palace, worth it for the views alone, and then take on the steep descent to Leh Palace. On our return to Leh we have the afternoon at leisure with a further chance to rest and acclimatise as required. The day’s walk and visits take approximately 4 hours.Overnight: Omasila Hotel

Day 4: Taktok Festival, Giant Budda & Alchi
Accommodation Name: Guest house
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today (on the July 13th 2024 departure) you can experience the Taktok Festival where both the monks and the local people dance! The dances depict different aspects of the wrathful and compassionate deities and a variety of animals. We then travel to Alchi, 70km downstream from Leh, where we will find the 12th Century Alchi monastery, which contains unique Kashmiri artwork on its statues and intricate wooden carvings: enjoy the wonderful ancient buildings, murals, medals and thankas on show. We lunch in Nimruu and en-route we stop to visit the Giant Buddha in Likir. Depending on arrival times, we will have the chance to wander the streets of Alchi tonight before settling into our Guest House.Overnight: Zimskhang Holiday Home

Day 5: Rizong To Yangtang
Accommodation Name: Guest house
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trek: 5.2km with 340m ascentFrom our accommodation in Alchi, we drive to Rizong (around 30 mins) in a peaceful and beautiful valley and, before our trek, we make a brief visit to the Monastery and nunnery. This monastery is known for its strict order of monks, who only possess their books and robes. We begin our trek from the monastery with a very pleasant walk to the village of Yangthang. Our path starts as a jeep track but soon becomes a single track path along the edge of the River Utley. We head up to the high plateau where Yangtang Village is situated (3670m).Overnight: Padma homestay

Day 6: Yangtang To Hemis Shukpachen
Accommodation Name: Guest house
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trek: 7.4km, 300m ascent (approx 3.5hrs walking)In a 2.5hr walk before stopping for lunch, we drop down to cross the river, followed by a long climb up to the pass of Tsermanchanla at 3910m. We then descend gently for around an hour to the large village of Hemis Shukpachen at 3596m (Hemis of the Juniper Trees). We are likely to meet children walking to school in the morning. We will visit some typical village homes in the afternoon with an opportunity to learn more about the local culture.  Overnight: Phekarpa Homestay

Day 7: Hemis Shukpachen To Tingmosgang
Accommodation Name: Guest house
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Trek: 12.5km with 500m ascent (approx 5.5hrs walking)Today is a longer day on foot and is all about undulating! Crossing farmland we leave the village and head west, to a gradual climb up and over our first small pass about an hour into our walk. We then descend steeply to a dry and dusty valley before some long zig zags (around 300m ascent) to our 2nd pass of the day, with great views, Mebtak La, at 3840m. From here we enjoy a long (90min) meander down to the fertile village of Ang, hopefully stopping at a small campsite with a tea tent en route! A rough jeep track guides us, in around an hour, to the prosperous village of Tingmosgang - 3250m - which was once the ancient capital of Ladakh and one of the largest in the area. The ruins of the castle and small temple dominate the landscape here above Tingmosgang and are well worth a visit in the evening.Overnight: Gopa Residency

Day 8: Tingmosgang To Bhalukhar
Accommodation Name: 3 star hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

If you didn't get to see the monastery on the hill above Tingmosgang yesterday, then there is the option of doing that this morning. It is the site of an ancient palace and well worth the several hundred steps up!Trek: 15.9km, 420m ascent (Walking for 4.5 - 5hrs): From Tingmosgang we walk up through the village on the opposite side of the hill from Tingmosgang, and take the long easy switchbacks up to the Bongbong La pass at 3580m which is a perfect place to stop for a snack. Our descent to the village of Bhalukhar takes us through a lovely hanging valley and down some steep zigzags to where we meet with our vehicles (around 3000m altitude). The drive back to Leh takes around 1.5hrs, so leaves some time for optional souvenir shopping and compulsory celebration of all we have seen and done, on our final evening.Overnight: Omasila Hotel

Day 9: Fly From Leh To Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast

All good things must come to an end and today you enjoy your last breakfast in Ladakh. Transfers are arranged for your flight out of Leh Airport, connecting in Delhi for flights home.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation as detailed

  • Airport Transfers at Destination


  • Fully Guided

    Supporting you on your holiday will be a minimum of 2 experienced, approachable and knowledgeable guides; one from the UK YellowWood team, and an in-country local guide who will be with us for the duration of the holiday.

  • Meals

    As detailed in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • Additional Services

  • Insurance

  • International Travel


We fully believe in, and practice, Responsible Tourism and use hotels run by locals. We put time and effort into building our relationship with them to ensure you have a a great trip.

This accommodation on this adventure involves both hotel and homestays. We choose accommodation based on cleanliness, comfort, safety, proximity to our route (to avoid unnecessary extra travel), and a warm client welcome, as well as reliability in their service to us. Some hotels will be basic, and in modern buildings and or in towns. Wherever we can, we will choose smaller more characterful, individual hotels, but in areas where tourism is still developing, this may not be available.

An aspect of our adventures is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles and to experience new things which is exciting and memorable, and reflects the countries we are visiting.

This is adventure travel and on occasion the advertised services at a hotel (eg wifi, or hot showers!) may not be functional on our arrival. This tends to occur in the smaller, more remote hotels, guest houses or camps. Very rarely a hotel lets us down and we are required to find alternative suitable accommodation that might not be our first choice.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, Supporting you on your holiday will be a minimum of 2 experienced, approachable and knowledgeable guides; one from the UK YellowWood team, and an in-country local guide who will be with us for the duration of the holiday. This ensures you the perfect balance of information and support on your trip, with your Ladakhi guides offering insight into local life and customs, as well as routes during walking excursions, whilst your YellowWood guide ensures the smooth running of your adventure.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    Flights are not included in the cost of your holiday, and whilst we are happy to help advise you, responsibility for booking the correct flights rests with you. We recommend that you use a comparison tool such as www.momondo.co.uk or www.skyscanner.net when searching for flights. We will send you a Flight Information Sheet with further pointers on which flights to book for your adventure.

  • What is the maximum group size?

    The max group size is 12 people

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Single rooms are available on a first come, first served basis, however, due to the nature of the accommodation we are using on this adventure which is additionally chargeable.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes. Your YellowWood adventure starts at the airport in Leh. We understand that arriving into an unfamiliar airport can be very daunting, so we aim to give you as much information here as possible, to help you prepare. Leh Airport is a military airport on the outskirts of the town, only a ten minute drive from the main centre.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    You are visiting the Himalaya, and although you will only be walking through valleys between the mountains, you will be walking at altitude between 3000 and 4000m.Distances walked vary between 6km and 16km, with up to 500m of ascent during the day.

    To get the most of out of this adventure, you therefore need to be a regular walker and in good physical condition. You do not need to be experienced in trekking, however. Any hiking is undertaken at the natural pace of the group, with regular stops.You will be carrying just a day pack with bottle of water, your packed lunch and basics.

    Training: As with all active holidays, the fitter you are, the more you can relax and enjoy the stunning route, and the better you can cope with challenges such as the outside elements.Clients are advised to get into a regular walking pattern before the trip as convenient.

    Grades 4-6: Intermediate

    You need to have a good level of fitness and be a regular walker for these adventures, with ideally some trekking experience. You can expect to be walking for 3-6 hours per day, not including rest stops, normally on good trail paths but with some uneven surfaces at times.

    You will not be required to carry more than a day sack. You may be walking in more challenging temperatures. You will generally be walking at low altitude (below 3000m) but may walk at altitudes up to 4000m. The amount of ascent could be up to 800m in a day but will frequently be less. You may walk on consecutive days.

    Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable clothing for this adventure.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Since 2015

  • Risk Assessment

    YellowWood operates a Safety Management System which encompasses a planned, researched, implemented and reviewed approach to your Health & Safety. A risk assessment is a careful examination of what could cause harm (hazards) and the assessment of likelihood of hazards occuring, as well as the severity of the outcome of a hazard.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for our latest Covid-19 policies

  • Experienced Leaders

    On all of our adventures you will benefit from the daily presence of an experienced, English speaking local guide. You will also have additional guides at various points during the trip (see itineraries for details).

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    As a visitor to a foreign country, we inevitably leave our mark. At YellowWood Adventures, we are determined that this ‘mark’ will be a positive one. Tourism is not always beneficial and we are conscious of treading lightly in the lands we explore.

Reviews of this Operator




From guiding us through the crowded alleys of Lalibela at Genna to clambering up the dizzy heights of Abuna Yemata this was a trip that surpassed all expectations! Yellowwood hits the right balance of organised small group travel with adventurous, 'off the beaten track' experiences all the while making you feel as if you've travelling with a small group of your friends. Ethiopia is truly a beautiful country with wonderful friendly and generous people throughout. I highly recommend this trip and am already planning for my next Yellowwood adventure!

Ethiopia Adventure, 2020

Absolute trip of a lifetime


This trip was one of the best I've ever done. Getting into the Tian Shan mountains was really quite magical; experiencing the scenery and feeling isolated from the rest of the world, thanks to the personalised feel of the trek, was unrivalled. The quality of the food was also a highlight, and I was catered for as a vegetarian (in a very non-vegetarian place!). Kyrgyzstan is a relatively undiscovered gem, and it was lovely to do a road-less-travelled style trip. Thanks to Sam and YellowWood for taking us on a genuine adventure with a fantastic itinerary. I look forward to joining some more non-traditional trips when possible!"

Kyrgyzstan Adventure, 2019

People and Landscapes of Oman Adventure


Every day was a highlight for me, no specific favourite. Oman deserves all the superlatives it gets -magnificent scenery, safe, friendly environment, welcoming and engaging people. YellowWood delivers a winner on this trip! Kudos to all.

Oman Adventure, 2022

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Saturday - Sunday

Jul 13, 2024 - Jul 21, 2024
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$120 (USD)

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Aug 10, 2024 - Aug 18, 2024
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Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 22, 2024
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Jun 07, 2025 - Jun 15, 2025
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The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$120 (USD)

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Jul 12, 2025 - Jul 20, 2025
$2399 $2279 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$120 (USD)

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Saturday - Sunday

Aug 09, 2025 - Aug 17, 2025
$2399 $2279 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$120 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Sunday

Sep 13, 2025 - Sep 21, 2025
$2399 $2279 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$120 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    YellowWood Adventures requires a minimum deposit of 400 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of yellowwood adventures charges.

    Up to 57 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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